Seventh Annual Grant Winners 2006-2007
Richard E. Spieler, Ph.D – Oceanographic Center
Elvira Carvajal Hinojosa - Parque Nacional, Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano
Richard Dodge, Dean, Oceanographic Center
Title: Assessment of the Fishes and Corals of Veracruz, Mexico: A Comparative Study
The Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzana (Veracruz Coral Reef System National Park) consists of 17 different reef components surrounding the port of Veracruz, Mexico, and encompasses a total of 52,000 hectares. The purpose of this project is to make an initial assessment of fish and coral assemblages within the park and compare these results to assemblages known from reefs in Broward County, Florida. We will test hypotheses that there are no differences among the fish and coral assemblages of reefs within the park, and no differences between park reefs and those of Broward County. Data collection will be accomplished using non-destructive visual surveys of widely separated reefs within the park and comparing those results with data archived at NSU. Rigorous analysis of data will be accomplished using parametric and non-parametric methods. Results of this study will provide the park with a list of fishes and corals, and the distribution of this biota within the park. This information is critical for establishing and evaluating resource management strategies as well as evaluating the extent of anthropogenic, and other, impacts. Comparison between the Veracruz reefs and those of Broward County will provide insight into the distribution of Atlantic coral reef fishes and corals and the potential connectivity of these two, widely separated, reef systems. This information is important for understanding the impact that changes on Veracruz reefs would have on reefs of the Southeast United States. A host of additional research spin-offs are anticipated that will be funded out-of-house, including more in-depth biotic assessment, artificial reef evaluation and genetic studies.